Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era: Songs That Changed the World--"What the World Needs Now is Love" by Jackie DeShannon

This timeless message, sung by Jackie DeShannon, continues to change lives over 40 years later.  Jackie's "What the World Needs Now Is Love" is today's featured tune on The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*.

"What the World Needs Now is Love"
by Jackie DeShannon

Written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
its the only thing that there's just too little of.
what the world needs now is love sweet love,
no not just for some but for everyone.

Lord we don't need another mountain,
there are mountains and hillsides enough to climb,
there are oceans and rivers enough to cross
enough to last until the end of time

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
its the only thing that there's just too little of,
what the world needs now is love sweet love,
no not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another meadow,
there are corn fields and wheat fields enough to grow,
there are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine,
oh listen Lord, if you want to know

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
its the only thing that there's just too little of.
what the world needs now is love sweet love,
no not just for some, oh but just for every every everyone.

What the world (whoa whoa) needs now,
is love (is love) sweet love
what the world ( oh oh) needs now
is love (is love) sweet love
what the world (whoa whoa) needs now
is love (is love) sweet love

This Date in Rock Music History: December 3

1938:  Alfred Lennon married Julie Stanley.  That partnership would soon produce a son, John, that would go on to change the world and alter popular music forever.
1956:  Guy Mitchell had the top song with "Singing The Blues".

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 3

When we get done, you'll have The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  I'll put up a page with the links to each of these groups of six, so you'll have them in one place.  Today is December 3, and here are the next six:
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
by Dean Martin

Johnny Marks wrote this song that was first sung by Harry Brannon in November 1949.  Dean Martin recorded his version in 1959 and his wording of "Rudy, the red-beaked reindeer" fit Martin's image perfectly and Martin's probably the only guy who could sing those lines and pull it off.  It gave the song a whole new appeal.

"You're All I Want for Christmas"
by Brook Benton

Benton recorded this song in 1963 and it is one of the least-covered songs in this special, but certainly one of the most personal and most romantic.

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
by Jimmy Boyd

Tommie Connor wrote the lyrics and music to this one.  Boyd recorded the original version of the song in 1952 when he was 13 years old.  Several other artists have covered the song but Boyd's is still the best.

"What Christmas Means to Me"
by Stevie Wonder

Anna Gordy Gaye, George "Horgay" Gordy and Allen Story wrote this song on Wonder's Someday at Christmas album in 1967. Out of all the Christmas songs, this is one of the ones that captured the true meaning of Christmas.

"Frosty the Snowman"
by the Ronettes

This fun song about an imaginary snowman who magically comes to life has been delighting audiences for years.  Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson wrote it for Gene Autry who originally recorded it.  

Of course, the famous "Wall of Sound" production technique made almost anything sound better and when the Ronettes did this song, it quickly became a holiday favorite.

"Oh Holy Night"
by Josh Groban

Adolphe Adam composed this song in 1847 based on the French poem "Minuit, chretiens" (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau.  Minister John Sullivan Dwight created a singing version of the song based on Cappeau's French text in 1855.  

Groban sings it with such reverance, that allows his amazing voice to transport you back in time to the actual night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Featured Unknown/Underrated Song--"Every Kinda' People" by Robert Palmer

This release from Robert Palmer came before his big hits, like "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible".  It was his second release in 1978 and you have to wonder if it had come after his big hits if it wouldn't have gotten greater attention.  It is truly sad, by the way, that that is too often the case--that Music Directors at radio stations listen more to a "track record" than they do with the two ears that God gave them.

But their mistakes just make this website that much better (They give us so much material!) as we feature the songs they should have been playing all these years.
"Every Kinda' People
by Robert Palmer

Said the fight to make ends meet

Keeps a man upon his feet
Holding down his job
Trying to show he can't be bought

It takes every kinda people
To make what life's about, yeah
Every kinda people
To make the world go 'round

Someone's looking for a lead
In his duty to a king or to a creed
Protecting what he feels is right
Fights against wrong with his life

There's no profit in deceit
Honest men know that revenge does not taste sweet
Whether yellow, black or white
Each and every man's the same inside

It takes every kinda people
To make what life's about, yeah
It takes every kinda people
To make the world go 'round

Do do do, do do do, oh
Never knew, no no no no no

You know that love's the only goal
That could bring a peace to any soul
Hey and every man's the same
He wants the sunshine in his name

It takes every kinda people
To make what life's about, yeah
It takes every kinda people
To make the world go 'round

Every kinda people
To make what life's about
It takes every kinda people
To make the world go 'round

The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era: Songs That Changed the World--"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson

If we are to do the things we've talked about since September 1 on this blog, the things that make a difference to ourselves, to our families and friends, to our cities, our country and the world there is one thing that we all have to do--start with The Man (or Woman) in the Mirror.  Michael Jackson breaks it down to its most simple form--we must change ourselves in order to make the world a better place.  It is up to the individual.

"Man in the Mirror"
by Michael Jackson

Written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett

I'm gonna' make a change,
For once in my life
It's gonna' feel real good,
Gonna' make a difference
Gonna' make it right . . .

As I turn up the collar on my
favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street,
with not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see
their needs
A summer's disregard,
A broken bottle top
And a one man's soul
They follow each other on
The wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere
to go
That's why I want you to

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna' make the world

a better place
Take a look at yourself, and
then make a change

I've been a victim of
a selfish kind of love.
It's time that I realize
that there are some with no home,
not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me
pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred,
Somebody's broken heart
and a washed-out dream
 They follow the pattern of
the wind, ya' see
cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me


I'm starting with the man in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change his ways.
And no message could have been any clearer--
If you wanna' make the world
a better place
Take a look at yourself
and make that change.

I'm starting with the man in the mirror (oh yeah)
I'm asking him to change his ways (Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer--
If you wanna' make the world 
a better place,
take a look at yourself and then make the change,

You gotta' get it right
while you got the time.
'Cause when you close your heart
You can't close your...your mind.

The man, the man, the man
The man in the mirror..
I'm asking him to change his ways.
The man, the man, the man
No message could have been any clearer--
If you wanna' make the world
a better place,
Take a look at yourself
and then make a change.

Hoo!  Hoo!  Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na na nah,
Gonna' feel real good
Yeah!  Yeah!
Yeah!  Yeah!
Yeah!  Yeah!

Oh no, no no
I'm gonna' make a change,
It's gonna' feel real good!

Come on, change!
Just lift yourself, you know
You've got to stop it, yourself!
Yeah!  Make that change!
I've got to make that change,
Today!  Hoo! (man in the mirror)

You got to, you got to not let yourself
(Yeah!) You know...make that change
I've got to get that man, the man, the man,

You've got've got to move!
Come on!  Come on!
You got to...
Stand up!  Stand up!  (Make that change!) Stand up!

Stand up and lift yourself now.  
(man in the mirror)
Hoo!  Hoo!  Hoo!
(Yeah, make that change!)

Gonna' make that change,
Come on!
(man in the mirror)
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know...

Make that change.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 2

Here are the next six songs in Inside the Rock Era's Christmas Spectacular of The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*:
"Wonderful Christmastime"
 by Paul McCartney

McCartney wrote this song in 1979 and he plays all instruments on the song.  Since he originally did it, over 20 artists have recorded their versions.  

"Do You Hear What I Hear"
 by Bing Crosby

It is important to know the history regarding this song.  It was written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker in October, 1962 as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Anyone who records it without the passionate conviction and desperation that people felt during the threat is missing the point.

Bing Crosby "got it" and delivered an incredible performance more in tune with the message than other versions.  He first performed it on The Bob Hope Christmas Special of 1963.
"Oh Come All Ye Faithful"
by Faith Hill

"Adeste Fideles" is the original name of this song attributed to John Francis Wade.  The original four verses were extended to eight and the English translation by Roman Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley is the most common.
Faith Hill's version is different than most if for no other reason, tempo.  Instead of just singing the words, she slows it down to emphasize the tender message that I believe the songwriter intended.
"Snoopy's Christmas"
by the Royal Guardsmen

The Peanuts comic strip created by Charles Schultz featured the beagle Snoopy, who often would go off on imaginary battles with The Red Baron.  It is that rivalry that first inspired the Royal Guardsmen to record "Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron".

The group drew upon the theme again for this Christmas song which included a surprising turn of events that gives a message to us all.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by Frank Sinatra

This song was written in 1944 by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and first introduced by Judy Garland in the MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis.
Frank Sinatra did it in 1957 and his version became the standard for many years.  Somehow hearing "The Chairman of the Board" sing it made it genuine.  

"Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!"
by Harry Connick, Jr.

Lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote the song with Jule Styne in 1945.  It was written in July in Hollywood, California during one of the hottest days of the year.  Vaughan Monroe originally recorded it and hit #1 with the song but since then, several versions have eclipsed it in popularity.
Connick recently recorded his version and the big band sound represents the severity of the storm outside while Connick sees the romantic possibilities of being "snowed in".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This Date in Rock Music History: December 2

1957:  Connie Francis appeared on the chart for the first time with "The Majesty Of Love".
1959:  Bobby Darin was on the television show This Is Your Life.

1963:  Roy Orbison released the single "Pretty Paper".
1963:  The Beatles performed "This Boy", "All My Loving" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and also took part in comedy sketches with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in the taping of an episode of the U.K. comedy The Morecambe and Wise Show at ATV's Elstree Studio Centre in Borehamwood, England.   The program aired April 18, 1964.

The Doors from their debut album--"Break On Through (to the Other Side)"...

1967:  The third Monkees album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. moved from 29-1 in its second week to take over.  Diana Ross and The Supremes Greatest Hits was second with Strange Days from the Doors #3 and the classic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band from the Beatles still at #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  The self-titled Doors, Vanilla Fudge at #6, Bee Gees' 1st at #7, the Soundtrack to "Doctor Zhivago", the Four Tops Greatest Hits falling to 9 and Are You Experienced?  from the Jimi Hendrix Experience entered the Top 10.
1967:  Gladys Knight & the Pips hit #1 on the R&B chart with their remake of the Marvin Gaye song "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".

1967:  On this date, Donovan had one of the hottest songs with "Wear Your Love Like Heaven", up from #74 to #46.

1967:  "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees was the new #1 song.  The Cowsills edged up with their great song "The Rain, The Park & Other Things" while the previous #1 "Incense And Peppermints" from Strawberry Alarm Clock was third.  Lulu hadn't fallen far (to 4) with her former #1 "To Sir With Love" and Dionne Warwick had #5 with "I Say a Little Prayer".

1968:  The Bee Gees released the single "I Started A Joke".
1969:  Cindy Birdsong of the Supremes was kidnapped but managed to escape by jumping out of a car on the San Diego Freeway.
1969:  George Harrison joined Delaney & Bonnie onstage at Colston Hall in Bristol, England.

1971:  Led Zeppelin released the single "Black Dog".
1972:  "You Ought To Be With Me" by Al Green took over at #1 on the R&B chart.

"I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock & Roll Band)" from 'Seventh Sojourn'...

1972:  Catch Bull at Four by Cat Stevens continued as the #1 album for a third week.  All Directions by the Temptations was behind while Yes took third with Close to the Edge.  Stanley, Idaho's Carole King moved up to #4 with her new album Rhymes & Reasons and the Moody Blues had a sizzler with Seventh Sojourn--up from 12-5 after just three weeks.  The rest of the Top 10:  The "Superfly" Soundtrack, Phoenix from Grand Funk Railroad at #7, Caravanserai by Santana, Michael Jackson's Ben at #9 and The Band with Rock of Ages.

1972:  Lobo hit #1 on the Adult chart with "I'd Love You To Want Me".

1972:  The Temptations had their second career #1, their 13th Top 10 song, and their 33rd hit with "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone".  Helen Reddy was determined with "I Am Woman" while the previous #1 from Johnny Nash ("I Can See Clearly Now") fell to #3.  Lobo's great song "I'd Love You To Want Me" trailed, with Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes up to 5 with "If You Don't Know Me By Now".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Summer Breeze" from Seals & Crofts, Al Green was up to 7 with "You Ought To Be With Me", Albert Hammond bounced from 14-8 with "It Never Rains In Southern California", the Spinners and "I'll Be Around" and America had themselves another Top 10 song with "Ventura Highway".
1973:  The members of the Who were thrown in jail for causing $6,000 worth of destruction to a hotel room.

1975:  Ace released the single "How Long".
1976:  Elvis Presley began an 11-night gig at the Hilton Hotel
 in Las Vegas, Nevada to make up for shows that were canceled during the previous engagement .

1978:  Rod Stewart ruled on the U.K. chart with "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy".

       Foreigner's "Blue Morning, Blue Day" on 'Double Vision'...

1978:  52nd Street by Billy Joel was #1 on the Album chart for the third consecutive week.  Live and More by Donna Summer was runner-up every one of those weeks while comedian Steve Martin was up to 3 with A Wild and Crazy Guy.  Foreigner slipped with Double Vision and the "Grease" Soundtrack was still at #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Styx's new album Pieces of Eight, Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Volume 2 debuted at #7, Comes a Time from Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt dropped to 9 with Living in the U.S.A. and the Rolling Stones were still in the list after 24 weeks with Some Girls.
1978:  "Le Freak" by Chic was the new R&B #1 song.
1978:  "Time Passages" by Al Stewart was #1 on the Adult chart for the fourth straight week.

1978:  It didn't take long for "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" to reach #1--just six weeks for Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.  Of course, they would go on to have many more great songs but at the time of their smash collaboration, they had a combined 65 hits with 15 Top 10's and four #1's.  Donna Summer slipped to second after three weeks at the top with her remake of "MacArthur Park".  Ambrosia peaked at 3 with "How Much I Feel" while "Le Freak" by Chic was just around the corner and Gino Vannelli had his biggest career hit--"I Just Wanna' Stop".  The rest of the Top 10:  Foreigner's "Double Vision", Alicia Bridges was at 7 with "I Love The Nightlife", Al Stewart edged up with "Time Passages", Billy Joel was becoming a force with "My Life" moving 16-9 and Dr. Hook had a Top 10 with "Sharing The Night Together".
1979:  Stevie Wonder performed the album Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants with the National Afro-American Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1979:  Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge divorced.
1982:  David Blue, who was with Bob Dylan' Rolling Thunder Revue and wrote "Outlaw Man" which the Eagles did in 1973, died of a heart attack at the age of 41 while jogging in Washington Square in New York City.
1983:  The video that would become legendary--"Thriller" was shown for the first time on television.
1986:  Jerry Lee Lewis checked into the Betty Ford Clinic to overcome an addiction to painkillers.

1989:  "Here And Now" by Luther Vandross was the new #1 song on the R&B chart.

1989:  Aerosmith moved from 85 to 59 with "Janie's Got A Gun".

1989:  Phil Collins had the new Adult Contemporary #1 with the great song "Another Day In Paradise".

1991:  Nirvana released the single "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
1991:  In yet another decision which revealed corporate greed among record companies, the United States Supreme Court ruled that B.J. Thomas, the Shirelles and Gene Pitney were owed $1.2 million in royalties they had earned but were never paid by their employer.

1995:  The Guinness Book of World Records announced that The Sign by Ace of Base was the top-selling debut album of all-time with 19 million copies sold worldwide.

1995:  One of the hottest songs on this date was "The World I Know" by Collective Soul, which moved from 62 to 51.

1995:  An historic day in the Rock Era as the collaboration between Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men--"One Sweet Day" debuted at #1.  That dropped Whitney Houston to second after a week with "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".  "Hey Lover" from LL Cool J was third followed by "Fantasy" from Mariah Carey and the great song "Gangsta's Paradise" from Coolio.  The rest of the Top 10:  R. Kelly dropped with "You Remind Me Of Something", Janet Jackson had #7 with "Runaway", TLC's great song "Diggin' On You" was #8, "Name" from the Goo Goo Dolls was stuck on 9 and "Tell Me" by Groove Theory wrapped up the list.
1996:  Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows fell during a concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, severing a ligament and tearing cartilage in his knee.

Together Again by Janet Jackson on Grooveshark
1997:  Janet Jackson released the single "Together Again".
1998:  Jimmy Buffett gave a benefit concert in Mobile, Alabama for victims of Hurricane George.
2000:  The Smashing Pumpkins played their final concert at the Metro Club in Chicago, Illinois.
2001:  Valerie Jones, who sang backing vocals for Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergras, Lou Reed and Betty Everett, died in Detroit, Michigan of an undisclosed illness at age 45.
2001:  Daniel Bedingfield owned the #1 song in the U.K. with "Gotta' Get Thru This".
2001:  Creed rose to the top of the Album chart with Weathered.
2002:  Peter Garrett quit the group Midnight Oil after 25 years.

2003:  Alicia Keys released her second album The Diary of Alicia Keys.

2003:  Simon & Garfunkel's reunion tour took the legendary duo to Madison Square Garden and their first concert in New York City in 10 years.  The concert was recorded and released as the DVD Old Friends:  Live on Stage.
2003:  Alice Cooper was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2006:  Beyonce signed a deal that would net her more money than any other African-American actress for her role in Dreamgirls.
2006:  Mariska Veres, singer of the Shocking Blue ("Venus" from 1970), died at the age of 59 from cancer in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Born This Day:
1906:  Dr. Peter Carl Goldmark, who invented the long-playing record in 1945; died in a car crash on December 7, 1977 in Westchester County, New York.
1941:  Tom McGuinness, bass guitarist with Manfred Mann, was born in Wimbledon, London, England.
1942:  Ted Bluechel, drummer of the Association, was born in San Pedro, California.
1943:  Dave Munden of the Tremeloes ("Silence Is Golden") was born in Dagenham, Essex, England.
1948:  Scott Simon of Sha Na Na was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1952:  Abel Zarate, vocalist and guitarist with Malo ("Suavecito" from 1972), was born in Manila, the Philippines.

1960:  Rick Savage, founding member and bassist of Def Leppard, was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.
1968:  Nate Mendel, bass guitarist of the Foo Fighters, was born in Richland, Washington.
1970:  Treach (real name Anthony Criss) of Naughty By Nature was born in Newark, New Jersey.  (Note:  some websites show that Anthony was born in East Orange, New Jersey.  According to agent Roger Paul, as well as the book 'And It Don't Stop:  The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years' by Raquel Cepeda, Criss was born in Newark and moved to East Orange when he was two years old.)

1978:  Nelly Furtado was born in Victoria, British Columbia.
1978:  Chris Wolstenholme, bassist of Muse, was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England.
1981:  One of the low points of the Rock Era--Britney Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi.

The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era: Songs That Changed the World--"Kicks" by Paul Revere & the Raiders

In the sea of music which featured lyrics and even advocation of drugs, it took a band from Boise, Idaho to set everyone straight, pardon the pun.  "Can't you see, no matter what you do, you'll never run away from you."  This is the incredible song "Kicks" from Paul Revere & the Raiders.

by Paul Revere & the Raiders

Written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil

Girl, you thought you found the answer on that magic carpet ride last night,
But when you wake up in the mornin' the world still gets you uptight
Well, there's nothin' that you ain't tried
To fill the emptiness inside
But when you come back down, girl
Still ain't feelin' right

(And don't it seem like)
Kicks just keep gettin' harder to find
And all your kicks ain't bringin' you peace of mind
Before you find out it's too late, girl
You better get straight

No, but not with kicks
You just need help, girl

Well you think you're gonna find yourself a little piece of paradise
But it ain't happened yet, so girl, you better think twice
Don't you see no matter what you do
You'll never run away from you
And if you keep on runnin'
You'll have to pay the price

[repeat chorus]


No, you don't need kicks
To help you face the world each day
That road goes nowhere
I'm gonna help you find yourself another way

(And don't it seem like)
Kicks just keep gettin' harder to find
(Oh, you don't need kicks, girl)
And all your kicks ain't bringin' you peace of mind
(You just need help, girl)
Before you find out it's too late, girl
You better get straight

[repeat chorus to fade]

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time--December 1

As a holiday treat, Inside the Rock Era will present The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  Rather than give them to you all at once, which would require a good deal of time to sort through, we are featuring six per day, beginning today and going through Christmas Day, for a total of 150 songs.  We aren't going to "count them down" or anything, because we want to feature some of the great songs at the start of the month as well.  So the 150 songs are well mixed in terms of quality. 

Plus, I tried to find at least one great version of the traditional songs to mix in with the secular songs.  So make sure you check out the blog every day to properly "get in the spirit" before you start your day.  Here are the first six:
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
 by Johnny Mathis

Meredith Wilson (who did music for The Music Man) wrote this song in 1951.  It was been recorded by several artists.  Johnny Mathis' version picked up popularity when it was included in the movie Home Alone 2:  Lost in New York, but it has always been a holiday favorite.  It is included because Mathis sings it joyfully.  The backing vocals, which alternate often with Mathis, add substantially to the song's appeal as well.
"Silent Night"
 by Boyz II Men

The song "Stille Nacht" with German lyrics was written by the priest Father Joseph Mohr with music from Franz Haver Gruber in Obendorf bei Salzburg, Austria. Second Bishop John Freeman Young of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida wrote the English translation that is often heard today.

There are several versions of this great song included--it perhaps is the Christmas song which most fits what should be the mood of the season. An amazing performance by Boyz II Men sung A Capella. The Boyz sing it with great reverence, which was the way it was written.
"Go Tell It on the Mountain"
 by Mahalia Jackson

The third song today is an African-American spiritual written by John Wesley Work, Jr. and dating back to at least 1865.

This version is included in The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time* because Mahalia sings it with great passion and conviction.  I believe she captures the original intent better than anyone else.

"Winter Wonderland"
 by the Eurythmics

This winter song has become a Christmas standard.  Richard B. Smith wrote the words after Central Park in his hometown of Honesdale, Pennsylvania was covered in snow.  Felix Bernard put the message to music.  

Over 150 artists have recorded the song.  One of the best versions is this one by the Eurythmics.  The musical accompaniment and the interlude from Annie Lennox of the duo add considerably to the song.  Winter can be drudgery, to be sure, but these aspects of the song convey the fun aspect of winter.
"Silver Bells"
 by Kenny G

Jay Livingston and Ray Evans wrote this song that was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in 1950 for the movie The Lemon Drop Kid.

The song has been recorded by hundreds of artists despite the song being one of the newest of what we call Christmas standards.  This song is included because, as an instrumental, it is naturally unique from vocal versions.  Kenny G is one of the best artists for Christmas songs and his great sax playing adds much to this song.  His ad-libbing captures the celebratory nature of the song, ringing silver bells to celebrate the season.
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
 by the Carpenters

One of the most popular of the secular Christmas songs, this was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie.  It was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November of 1934.  There were orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music the next day and 400,000 by Christmas.

Another of the top Christmas performers is the Carpenters.  They have several songs included among The 150 Best Christmas Songs of All-Time*.  Karen's voice in many ways sounds like Christmas; she definitely had a gift from God.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hits List: BTO

This is still one of my favorite-sounding groups.  Those guitars just built such a great foundation for their music.  Here is the complete Hits List from BTO:

1973:  "Blue Collar" (#68)
           "Let It Ride" (#23)--one of The Top Underrated songs of the Rock Era.
BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE: Takin' Care of Business / Stonegates
1974:  "Takin' Care of Business" (#12)--vastly underrated.
           "Roll on Down the Highway" (#14)
           "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" (#1)
1975:  "Hey You" (#21)
1976:  "Gimme Your Money Please" (#70)
           "Take It Like a Man" (#33)
           "Lookin' Out for #1" (#65)

           "Down to the Line" (#43)
1977:  "My Wheels Won't Turn"
           "Shotgun Rider"

1978:  "Down the Road"
1979:  "Jamaica"
           "Heartaches" (#60)
1984:  "Service with a Smile"
           "For the Weekend" (#83)
1996:  "The House of the Rising Sun"